Scripture – James 3:9-10
Praise & Cursing
By Shannon Endicott
Let me set the scene…I am driving in my car. I am listening to Glory Revival or some other worship music. I am in the zone. I am trying to steady my heart and center myself within Christ. Suddenly a car comes speeding past me. Or worse yet, I am trying to speed past someone else. My mind shifts, my heart turns off, words go through my head…sometimes out of my mouth, if I’m being honest. And these aren’t the kind of words I want my 8-year-old son to hear.
In a split second I go from praising God to literally cursing others. Cursing other human beings. Human beings made in the image of the very God I’m supposedly “praising”. In that moment I can’t help but feel as though there is no hope for this heart of mine. But even though James brings a strong rebuke against the tongue, I see a glimmer of hope.
Immediately following this passage from James, we see water described…fresh water and salt water. Or another translation says bitter water and sweet water. And while James says that the two, bitter and sweet, can’t flow from the same spring, I have seen that over time and by God’s strength the waters can in fact change.
I was once a very bitter person. Life threw things my way that were unfair and I wasn’t having any of it. I wallowed in my bitterness for some time, and I am telling you that the words on my tongue were filled with the fire and rage that James describes. However, I am no longer that bitter person. And that is only made possible by the sweetness of God’s grace and redemption.
Of course, I am still a work in progress, but I now read this passage with hope. God can grow me and change me. The waters of bitterness that so freely flowed from my heart now taste a little sweeter. And hopefully they are growing sweeter all the time.
From bitter to sweet.
Name the last time you were aware of the tongue’s ability to curse and scar? Do you have an experience in your own life of bitter waters being made sweet by the redemption of God?
Wesley’s Challenge Questions for the Week:
- Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
- Can I be trusted?